NHS and social care face £230m funding shortfall

editorial image

Health and social care services in the district face a funding shortfall of £229m over the next five years.

The scale of cost savings needed to care for the population between now and 2021 is laid bare in a report published yesterday.

It reveals how government funding for the NHS will fall alarmingly short of the cost of providing services - leading to radical changes being required.

The scale of the challenge is set out in a five-year plan by health organisations in Bradford District and Craven, Calderdale, Harrogate and Rural District, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield.

The Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) document said annual health funding for the six areas of Yorkshire would rise from £4.2bn to £4.7bn by 2021.

It said: “This is lower than the national average, and is far outstripped by the demand for services over the same period.

“Demand for and cost of services, if unmanaged, will drive a gap of £1.07bn by 2021 for health and social care.”

After 2020-21, if no changes were made, the annual cost of providing health and social care would be £1bn more than the existing budget every year.

Between now and 2021 £983m in savings are planned - but that still would still leave a £91m deficit at the end of the five-year period, the report admits.

Of the overall £1.07bn shortfall in 2020-21, Wakefield’s funding gap would be £229m if services continued to be delivered as they are now, according to the STP report.

At the same time, health organisations face higher than average rates of long-term health conditions among the population.

The report said: “An ageing population, people living longer with complex health and social care needs, means we have to change if we want to improve people’s quality of life and meet the challenges we face together with the money we have available.”

The report sets out plans to diagnose cancers earlier, cut smoking rates, provide more help for people with diabetes.

NHS bosses want to radically reduce hospital admissions, speed up A&E care and expand out-of-hours services and telephone advice for patients.

By March 2017, they want 95 per cent all patients who arrive at A&E for treatment to be seen within four hours.

In September just 84.3 per cent were seen within four hours at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, which runs Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury hospitals.

West Yorkshire and Harrogate is among 44 areas of the country which were required to draw up STP plans by the government.